There is one card that crops up time, and time again to represent a controlling partner (or parent). The 6 of pentacles.
I used to quite like this card, experience has taught me to see a different side.
Here are the things that have come to worry me;
The beggars are on their knees.
Now if I am giving money to a charity, homeless person or Big Issue seller I do not expect them to show any deference to e for my generosity. A "Thank you" is of-course welcomed, but i have to be honest and say the kneeling beggars picture concerns me.
The strange coin split from the "merchants" hand
I could argue that if there are 6 coins, each beggar should be given 3. But that is simplistic, and presumptive. Maybe the beggar with the yellow rug needs more, and the merchant is giving to each as needed.
However the strange suggestion that 2 coins are given, and 2 slightly held back concerns me.
Now this is the symbol that really filled my mind. We find scales in the justice card.
Scales reminds me that for every action there is (excuse the science teacher kicking in) an equal re-action. For everything we give, we receive something in return.
My husband has caused many an argument with the saying "There is no such thing as an altruistic act"
Every good deed you do, you receive something in return; whether that's a warm glowing feeling, the joy of seeing their smile, a feeling of superiority. (Feel free to disagree.)
So if this card can mean receiving help, generosity, a benefactor or inheritance.
Does it also remind us there is always an exchange, the gift is never one way?
Much of the time generosity, is simply generosity. The giver feels happy through their giving.
Yet sometimes the giver is deliberately aware of the exchange. The "generosity" is a way to control, or subdue. You may think of that as "strings attached".
As long as both parties are aware of any obligations, then it works just fine. But in many readings I have now come to see the 6 of pentacles as a controlling and manipulative partner, or parent. Deliberately creating a feeling of control and domination by giving "just enough" to keep the other person dependent.
I don't want to distract from the positive card that the 6 pentacles so often is, just highlight a darker side that I have now come across quite a lot.
I firmly believe each card offers a spectrum of meanings; from genuine blessing to clear warning. It is the job of the Tarot reader to interpret the possibilities accurately.